Rumor: Microsoft is raring to release a low-cost Surface tablet

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft is planning to release some low-cost Surface tablets later this year. The news agency remarks that Microsoft is hunting for a piece of Apple's iPad pie, and says that the Windows maker intends to do so with a new Intel-powered Surface tablet with a 10" screen. The purported device will run Windows, but the real news here is the expected price: around $400.

Bloomberg specifically says the upcoming devices will run Windows 10 Pro, and that they'll be available with 64 GB or 128 GB of storage. The new tablets will also supposedly be the first Surface devices to sport USB Type-C port, and those universal connectors will be used for charging instead of the proprietary Surface Pro power connector. More curiously, Bloomberg states that Microsoft's next Surface will have Apple-like rounded corners rather than the historically squared-off design of existing Surface devices.

Those design choices might lend some credence to the idea that Microsoft is targeting iPad buyers, but it seems equally likely that the new Surface will be poised to steal some desk space from Chromebooks. As Bloomberg itself notes, the new Surface is a perfect fit for the education market. That space is currently dominated by Chromebooks, which make up nearly 60% of computer purchases in US schools.

Further features of the rumored hardware include optional LTE support and the classic Surface kickstand. Bloomberg says that Microsoft is preparing cheaper versions of its type cover, stylus, and Surface-branded mouse to go along with the new tablet. Assuming Bloomberg's informants are correct, we should see a newer, more affordable Surface tablet appear later this year.

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